Book Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare

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Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian, but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance.

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

I wrote a guest review for Lazy Book Lovers, where I remained spoiler free. If you don’t want any spoilers please read  my review on LBL.

If you have already read it and would like to know my thoughts and discuss the book, please continue.

I am not sure where to begin because so much happens in this last installment of The Mortal Instruments. I am sure I will forget to say a few things and think of them later. So I will start with it was a very satisfying end and a much improved story from the previous two books in the series. It actually made it worth it to continue after City of Glass. There were a few hiccups that made me decide to demote it half a star, but all in all, Heavenly Fire is an enjoyable read.

The beginning introduced Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns. They’ll be the protagonists of the next series, Dark Artifices. I was worried the introduction of these characters would take over the story, but the balance was perfect. There was just enough development to set up the next series without them stealing any of the thunder in Heavenly Fire.

I can also see the set up for the next series with the treaty with the Faeries after the war, and their unfair treatment of Helen and Mark. It’s got Treaty of Versailles vibes and boy will the Clave wish they listened to Magnus.

Enough about the set up for the Dark Artifices, and on to the conclusion of this chapter of the soap opera. At 725 pages I was expecting a lot of filler, but the story moved along. Some things were tied up and answered, while some were set aside for later. Even when the story did slow down a bit three quarters of the way though in the demon realm, it was still interesting. I liked the moments of their bonding and friendship. Particularly Jace and Alec. For parabatai there was a lack of development between them in all of the previous books. While that will always be an issue I have, their moments in HF are some of my favorite.

I was glad for some of the throw backs to previous events. So much happens and it had been a few months since I read the other books, a reminder was needed.

After the whole build up I was just waiting to finally meet Magnus’ father. He was more comical than I anticipated. Not sure how I am supposed to feel about that being he is a big, bad demon. I really liked Simon’s sacrifice. It was heroic and so later on when Magnus finds a loop-hole, I thought it was a cop-out at first. Then I changed my mind and felt why didn’t the Clave think of this first since they are looking to recruit mundanes to Ascend anyway? The reason I came up with was dramatic effect.

The death toll happens among secondary characters. I can’t say I was really surprised nor that disappointed. I was also unemotional about the murders of Jordan and Raphael because I was not very attached to them to begin with. So there goes another reason for a demotion in my rating.
I was glad that Maia realized things with Jordan could not be as they were. I felt bad for her when she grieved with guilt over his death.

Sebastian was a well done diabolical, soap-opera-cartoon villain. His father messed him up so badly that it is sad to think of what could have been. The man he did become was too corrupted and excuses are not made for him. That is what I liked about his final death. Clary explains that she hates Sebastian and does not know Jonathan. She mourns the brother that could have been, not the one she got. She dupes him and kills him without hesitation.

Alec and Magnus. Their makeup was one of my favorite moments. Magnus finally opened up and though there will always been the issue of immortality/mortality between them, but they’ll make the most of each day together. My shipper heart is pleased. ❤ I mean you have to get back together when your true love practically goes into hell to rescue you!

Also, I liked when Robert confessed and opened up to Alec that he was ashamed of his behavoir and is proud of his son. That was heart melting. (It also makes me want a prequel series of the time during the Uprising with the Circle. So much is just summarized or hinted at.)
It was little things like that being tied up that I really enjoyed.

Which bring me to Tessa and Jem. I was really expecting more scenes with them, and at some point I realized they would only be together in the Epilogue. I understand saving the reveals, but I so wanted Tessa to tell Jace she’s his ancestor. To tell him about Will and their children. Maybe Alec will find out first by reading Magnus’ gift, his diary of sorts. But I really rather Tess and Jem tell Jace, and Emma, their story.
What little we did get, was worth the wait and Tessa and Jem will be the driving force to get me to read Dark Artifices. Not that Emma and the Blackthorns are boring.

Clary and Jace. I can’t not mention them. I liked the development of their relationship best in HF. Of all the books, this is where I rooted for them the most. Jace’s subtle hints of a future wedding were amusing in a cheesy way. After all they been through there better be a union.
Their first time in the caves, I was reminded of Tessa and Will. It was sort of like, ‘we might die tomorrow so let’s consummate at least once. We might never get the chance again.’ It was romantic though. I did wonder if Jace always has condoms on him or if he planned specifically for their demon dimension trip. Ha!

I can keep going with favorite lines, scenes, or parts I wish went a different way, but looking over eight pages -front and back – of notes I want to save that for a discussion in the comments.

There are moments of excitement; sentimentality; cheesy dialogue of love; comic relief; eww-gross; and oh, remember that for later. Heavenly Fire could have easily ended poorly and been as bad as the lackluster City of Fallen Angels, but luckily it was the best of the second half of the series. You know and understand the characters and the world they live in so well it makes it easy and gratifying to read for hours.

4.5 our 5 realms

 
 
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